Coworking has become one of the most significant work trends of the past decade. Luckily, you have more options now than ever before to find the right coworking spaces.
That actually might be an understatement; an “exploding trend” would probably be a more accurate description.
Since 2005, coworking spaces in the U.S. alone have risen from a single space to 781.
Improved connectivity and a cultural shift toward remote work has led to more distributed employees and more startups desiring flexible workspace options. Some established companies are even taking cues from the growing trend, which includes more flexible workspaces and reduced real estate costs.
The available options are dizzying.
Globally speaking, coworking is a rapidly expanding movement with spaces cropping up from Barcelona to Sydney and everywhere in between.
I myself have collapsed into faded leather sofas at WeWork South Bank in London, admired the avant-garde style of Merkspace in Tel Aviv, and networked with members of the local tech meetup in my hometown at the coworking space of Work Hard Pittsburgh.
What is it exactly that so many workers are in search of? Peer support? Networking? Hip meeting spaces? Mentorship? Business mailing addresses? Or is it simply a space outside the home with like-minded professionals that doesn’t require a landlord?
As a work-from-anywhere software developer, Buckner became accustomed to scouting out locations in California and later in his native Oregon, maintaining a large list that he updates regularly of coworking spaces and their attributes.
He began to wonder if others had similar lists: Not long thereafter, Workfrom was born. (Incidentally, he met his cofounder in a coffee shop.) After researching 650 cities and getting input from nearly 15,000 contributors, Workfrom had its volunteer scouts scour the globe, reporting back on the ideal places for remote work.
What’s important in coworking spaces?
With all of that crowdsourced knowledge in their hands, Workfrom has a lot of data about which criteria matter most to remote workers. (Coworking companies and venue owners may likely find this valuable as the trend grows.)
You don’t have to be a scout to access it; their site allows anyone to filter by location, and then dive deep into other attributes.
The Top 5 Coworking Space Attributes:
- Does the space have reliable Wi-Fi access?
- Which facilities are open late or 24/7?
- What’s the level of background noise?
- Is there alcohol? (Available on tap and on the house in some coworking spaces.)
- And the ever-popular: Are there available power outlets?
Memberships versus Day Passes
Workfrom considers coworking spaces to be private enterprises, since these typically require a fee or membership. It makes sense, then, that most folks who search for coworking spaces want to know if the site welcomes drop-ins or offers day passes.
If you’re a frequent traveler, there are some advantages to membership with a larger company rather than an indie venue.
For example, investing in a certain level of membership at a global network such as WeWork enables you to RSVP to work in most of their spaces, from Texas to Israel, on fairly short notice.
To Network or Not to Network
Those who frequent coworking spaces as “members” or purchasers of a “hot desk” cite the connection to a broader professional (and often entrepreneurial) community as an incentive to invest in an office outside the home. And you’ll likely be in good company—well, companies, that is.
On its homepage, Boston-based WorkBar shows off its more prominent members, which include well-known companies like Girls Who Code, Constant Contact, and Automattic, the latter being a fully remote organization (check out Automattic’s Q&A on Remote.co).
Other Coworking Space Perks
Digital nomads, distributed employees, and remote workers alike can seek out almost any type of coworking space to suit some very specific needs. Most spaces offer shared resources like printers and office supplies.
Countless others (depending on members’ needs and requests) provide additional services like green screens for podcasting, shared tech resources, mentorship within the community, business incubation, programs for women entrepreneurs, and more.
Some coworking spaces have branded themselves as a private, quiet work experience for professionals, while others tout community-driven advantages, hosting regular meetups, lectures and workshops, and inviting members to closed social networks.
When you add in all the fruit water, coffee, beer, or the presence of canines on premises, coworking really has never looked better.
A remote marketer since early 2014, Kristi DePaul (@reallykristi) has mastered content development, management, and creative direction from a distance. Her adventures have taken her to nearly 40 countries on five continents. She doesn’t work in her pajamas.